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Dec 15, 2011 05:39 PM

Help me decide: Pulqueria, Tertulia, ABC Kitchen, or ???

Ever-helpful Chowhounders! Help me make a decision!

Here's the deal: taking the girlfriend out for a cocktail and then dinner tomorrow night. We have no reservations, BUT - I have time before our date, and am planning on going early (maybe even an hour early), to put our names on the list and have a drink at the bar before she gets there.

A little about us: we're in our 20s, love trying new places, love small plates, are into great cocktails. Atmosphere is not the only factor - but when possible, we do really appreciate a beautiful/sexy/intimate space.

Some places we love: Casa Mono, Alta, Scarpetta (but not really the ambience), Freemans, Spotted Pig, Milk + Honey, Angel's Share...

Here are the three options I'm considering:

1) ??? + Tertulia - she LOVES tapas, and I love Seamus Mullen, so this is obviously very appealing...but I'm not sure where we could get a cocktail beforehand - maybe Minetta Tavern? Are there any other good places to get a drink close by? (Little Branch doesn't open until 7.)

And also, perhaps more importantly - do you think I could get there an hour early, put our names on the list for dinner...and then when she arrives, we could leave and have a cocktail nearby, and come back when our table is ready?

2) Apotheke + Pulqueria - also appealing, especially because Apotheke is right upstairs, so we could have a cocktail at Apotheke and then move to Pulqueria. But something about the way the "scene" has been described at Pulqueria sort of puts me off...we like a lively boisterous scene, but a DJ? Really?? Just afraid it might attract the same kind of scene-chasing, B+T crowd we are not too fond of...

3) Rose Bar + ABC Kitchen - obviously more expensive, but I'm okay with that. Been wanting to try ABC Kitchen for a long time, and Rose Bar's decor is perfectly up our alley (and I'm imagining that if we went around 6 or 6:30, we wouldn't have an issue at the door). But I've heard negative things about the bar area at ABC Kitchen, which is likely where we'd end up without a reservation...

So, wise Chowhounds, any thoughts? Or, do you have a totally different recommendation you'd like to make? I'm open!

Thanks in advance!!

Casa Mono
52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

Minetta Tavern
113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Angel's Share
8 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003

355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

9 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

ABC Kitchen
35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

11 Doyers St, New York, NY 10038

359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

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  1. 1. Before Tertulia get a drink at Pegu Club, Fatty Cue, or Employees Only.

    Pegu Club is a little further away but I think is the best choice given that LB doesn't open until 7pm.

    Fatty Cue has excellent drinks but tends more towards the spicy/smoky/boozy drinks.

    EO is good but not as good as the others.

    Not sure about the list policy for Tertulia. Note also that you can eat at the bar or the bar tables, and those are first come, first served.

    2. Never been to those, can't help, sorry!

    3. Raines Law Room is pretty close to ABC Kitchen and opens at 5pm on Fridays. It's definitely beautiful/sexy/intimate if you haven't been.

    Another option is Flatiron Lounge. I was there recently on a Friday night and even at 6pm it wasn't too crowded yet.

    At ABC Kitchen, I'd try to grab two seats at the bar. IIRC all of the walk-in tables are in the front, bar area anyway.

    Employees Only
    510 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

    Flatiron Lounge
    37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

    Pegu Club
    77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

    Raines Law Room
    48 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

    ABC Kitchen
    35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

    359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    Fatty 'Cue
    50 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Raines + ABC Kitchen would be fun.

      Apotheke doesn't open until 6:30 p.m., so not sure if that's too early for you. One of my most fun dates was cheap dumplings in Chinatown, followed by drinks at Apotheke. The drinks are pretty good (albeit not "traditional"). Haven't been to Pulqueria for the very reason you mentioned.

      Have you been to Death & Co.? I'm assuming so, but if not, it sounds right up your alley—good drinks, small plates, intimate space.

      Death & Co.
      433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

    2. ABC Kitchen should have openings on Open Table for early in the night, around 6, but chances are they will force you to wait at the bar even if you have a reservation. Expect a 30 minute delay, and as a walk in, the wait can be upwards of an hour and a half . Hounding the hosts works, but who wants to have to do that?